Key Elements of the Counterterrorism Challenge

Part of: Religious Radicalism after the Arab Uprisings

In Chapter 3 of Religious Radicalism after the Arab Uprisings, Thomas Sanderson and contributors Joshua Russakis and Michael Barber address the key challenges for counterterrorism policy in the current environment. Efforts to counter the financing of terrorism today will have to disrupt local war economies, restrict trade in illicit goods, disrupt terrorist control of transport and communication nodes, and constrict and degrade foreign funding networks. The growth of the foreign fighter phenomenon in Syria and Iraq presents a dynamic threat to the United States, the West, and various countries around the world, and adaptive, multinational efforts to prevent this flow of fighters remain a top priority. In addition, today, U.S. military officials identify more terrorist and insurgent sanctuaries in the Middle East and North Africa than at any time since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Islamic State’s capture and control of key areas and resources across large parts of Syria and Iraq affords them a highly prized operational base in the heart of the Middle East. Yet, in each of the Islamic State’s advantages can be found a weakness that policymakers should seek to exploit.

Michael Barber, Joshua Russakis, and Thomas M. Sanderson